The Ashes 2013/14: an alternative guide to the WACA ahead of the Third Test
Pitch invasions and spilt blood: the Ashes Panel shares some of its WACA anecdotes.
Last Updated: 12/12/13 12:11pm
After six straight defeats at the WACA, victory for the tourists in the coming days would not only upset the form book but provide England fans with unforgettable memories.
Nasser Hussain, Michael Atherton, Andrew Strauss, Bob Willis and David 'Bumble' Lloyd already have a few of their own as far as Perth is concerned. Here are the ones they were willing to share...
ATHERS: There may not be as much pace and bounce at Perth as there used to be but by general standards it is still a quick pitch. If you're a good back-foot player or a good touch player, you should get lots of runs. On my first tour in 1990/91 we played our opening tour game at Perth and I was standing in the slip cordon to Devon Malcolm; I remember that we were standing about three-quarters of the way back to the boundary.
Mike Valetta and Graeme Wood played Devon superbly and it was a good illustration of how Australian opening batsmen are conditioned to quick bowlers because they just left everything and the ball kept bouncing over the top of the stumps. No young English batsman brought up on English pitches played that well. It was a good learning curve for me as a young opening batsman about how to go about playing fast bowlers in Australia.
NASSER: Back in 2002/03 Brett Lee bowled what I reckon is the quickest spell of bowling I've seen in the Test arena. The famous Fremantle Doctor was blowing straight down the ground and Lee needed no further encouragement on a quick pitch to crank up his pace. We had to send a nightwatchman in towards the end of the second day and I remember pushing Richard Dawson, who looked like he'd seen a ghost, out of the door and then the following day Lee felled Alex Tudor with one that cannoned into his nut. He was pretty badly shaken up by it and I remember Lee saying the blood on the pitch freaked him out.
We usually started our tour here and I remember that Mark Butcher got carried off in one of the games after getting smashed by a lad called Matt Nicholson, who went on to play for Australia. He bowled a real sharp spell at Butch and when I went out to bat at No 3 there was blood on the crease where Butch had been whacked just under the grill.
STRAUSS: My abiding memory of Perth is netting. The incredible bounce and searing pace made it one of the most frightening experiences of my life. In 2010/11 tour we spent two weeks in those nets. Everyone was getting stuck in, spending hour upon hour in the nets and we were so mentally scarred by that, that by the end of the tour, when we came back for the one-dayers, not one person went in! Everyone just had little throw downs and got Graham Gooch to bowl underarm at them. It can completely fry your mind completely before you get onto the pitch.
BUMBLE: I look back at the second Test of the 1974/75 Ashes series when Dougie Walters hit a century in the last session at the WACA - slapping the last ball, bowled by our very own Bob Willis, for a flat six. It was an exhilarating innings which we never recovered from!
BOB: Talking of unpleasant episodes... I remember one particularly bad one during the 1982/83 series when Terry Alderman was injured during a pitch invasion. Back in those days idiots seemed to run onto the pitch for all manner of reasons. This time one of them grabbed Alderman's Baggy Green and made off with it and even though Terry was one of the nicest guys you could wish to meet, there was no way he was going to stand for that! Anyway, he gave chase and rugby tackled the guy but unfortunately dislocated his shoulder in the process.
That came a few years after the circus surrounding Dennis Lillee's aluminium bat. The umpires decided it wasn't within the rules of the game and duly stopped him from using it which, of course, was like a red rag to a bull. Dennis lost it and threw the offending item in the direction of our captain Mike Brearley, who at that point of his career was sporting a ridiculous beard. It was all quite absurd.
BENEDICT BERMANGE'S KEY FACTS
- England's Record at Perth is: P12, W1, L8, D3
- Australia's last home Test defeat when both Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath played together was to the West Indies at Perth in 1997
Geoffrey Boycott's innings of 77 at the ground in 1978 did not contain a single boundary - the highest such innings in Ashes history
- Built in 1954, the scoreboard was a donation from the North West Murchison Cricket Association
Watch day one of the third Ashes Test between Australia and England from 2am on Sky Sports 2 on Friday morning.